Monday, 3 May 2010

The Relationship Between Circumcision And Baptism

When you don't understand what it was about, biblical circumcision is at best an odd thing and at worst a downright cruel thing, inflicting pain on the unsuspecting and weak.

NB. There is NO Biblical warrant or even encouragement for so called "female circumcision."

However, there's more going on here than a mere pain threshold test. It was a sign cut into the flesh of the male Israelites - a reminder that would never be washed away by soap, nor obscured by new growth. It would live with them wherever they went.

Consider then the nature of this sign: A knife was taken and used to shed the blood of the baby boy in the removal of the foreskin on the 8th day after birth.

:: The knife - Symbolic of the scriptures and more specifically the judgment of God.
:: The penis - Symbolic of the promised offspring (it is the place where seed or offspring come from - those "seeds" are planted in the "soil" of the womb)
:: Blood is shed - Symbolic of death.
:: On the 8th day - Symbolic of new creation.
:: Done to a baby by their father - Symbolic of God's initiative and our helplessness.
:: Hidden to the eye under clothes - symbolic of the gospel being hidden until the proper time.

So in circumcision, the LORD reminded his people of his promise that he would send one born of a woman who would fall under the judgement of God and whose shed blood would purchase the renewal of the whole creation - something that we ourselves could never do - nor even think of doing.

The reason circumcision is no longer mandatory in the New Testament is because we are no longer looking for the promised offspring, he has already come in the person of Christ, who bore the judgement of God and shed his blood on a cross 2000 years ago, purchasing the renewal of the whole creation.

Circumcision was only done to men because it was a man who would one day die to win for himself a bride (the church). The church does not win herself a Christ. You and I don't/can't earn our way to God. It is at best ridiculous and at worst blasphemous to suggest otherwise.

We are no longer waiting for the shedding of Messiah's blood. It has all been finished. Instead we have water baptism as the sign of cleansing, new birth and union with Christ, through the Spirit.

When a person is baptised, it is a sign that they have a place in the (re)new(ed) humanity.

What an awesome God.

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